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I didn't know Aaron Swartz, but my understanding is that surveillance and whistleblowing were important issues for him. For instance, he developed software for anonymous whistleblowing for those like Edward Snowden: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/aaron-swartz-inbox-for-whis...



"surveillance and whistleblowing were important issues for him"

There you've conflated them again, and then provided another point about Swartz being in favor of access to information. You specifically did not address the grandparent's question about why Swartz would be against access to information for some cases and for access to information in other cases.

I'm not suggesting that he wouldn't (I don't know offhand, but it's clear that pro-whistleblowing folks often self-identify as anti-surveillance, too), but it's not clear what information-related principles are being used to justify these positions.


I don't think there is a necessary contradiction in "favoring access" to government-promoted or funded arts and sciences, as well as "favoring access" to full disclosure of surveillance programs and desiring effective judicial oversight, and not "favoring access" when the government wants to have a large amount of data about the lives of its citizens.

The current surveillance is being performed without oversight and in secret: so a "favoring access" stance aligns with wanting full disclosure of the surveillance, and a judicial process that allows for oversight of what is being surveilled and when.

Within the surveillance issue is a desire for privacy (which is not "favouring access" to information, as you note), which I think comes from two issues: that the government is a public institution for the public good and so it has less expectation of privacy than an individual. and also that there is a power imbalance between what the ability to act on information between governments and other entities, and an individual.

Publicly-funded research that the public is denied access to is an issue of both government openness and power imbalance.

Government promotion of the arts and sciences (which is the reason for copyright) being used to unduly deny the public access to aspects arts and sciences falls into both as well, IMHO.


I wish you were kidding. Very few people who care about these issues are confused about the difference between access and control over published cultural and scientific information and other inherently public things versus private unpublished personal things. The Free Culture movement is totally aligned with valuing privacy. It doesn't say everything should be public, it says that the public must have freedom regarding things that are in fact public, i.e. things that are published and otherwise necessary for democratic transparency and such.


I guess that's a fair point. I am definitely operating under the assumption that those who worked closely with him would not be using his name for a campaign he would not have supported. Having worked with these organizations and folks in the past, I find that highly unlikely, but I understand why that might not be a convincing argument to everyone.


He was also the founder of Demand Progress.


Nice! I wasn't aware of that, thanks.




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